Church Planting School – An update

There is less than a month left to go in our inaugural church planting school cohort in Cebu, Philippines, and all our students are excited about graduating and putting everything they have learnt into practise!

They have had the opportunity to learn under a few different facilitators, from Bible School graduates to pioneering church planters who have recently been through what they are about to experience. Everyone has brought something new to the table and just the wide spectrum of knowledge as been motivating, eye opening and encouraging for this cohort.

One of the lessons that has left an indelible mark is FGA’s Senior Pastor Rhordan Wicks and his instructions on how to design and deliver a sermon. The students, on their own initiative, have taken it upon themselves to deliver a sermon to their classmates every other week, to practise the methods taught and to get used to speaking compellingly and confidently in front of an audience.

The students go out for street evangelism twice or three times a week, to both train their skills in communicating the gospel and to make disciples. The place of choice is Fuente Park, where students, working adults and couples gather after work to spend time relaxing before heading home. At this unassuming park in one of Cebu Cities main thoroughfares, more than 80 people have been reached for Christ by our teams. They recently held an informal life group/ bible study at the park, and some of the people they met earlier, attended, which encouraged the team greatly.

So far, the students have been taught practical ways to come up with the strategic church planting plan, which is their key assignment for this school. Lessons in theology of missions, evangelism, poverty and leadership and living by faith have been some topics that have been covered so far. In the few remaining weeks, they will have some training in mentoring, recruiting volunteers and using social media safely and effectively.

As they come to the end of the ten weeks of training, let’s continue to pray for them and encourage them in their mission. Some of these students have sacrificed much to be at the Church Planting School, and they need our prayers. We are so blessed to have met these servants of God and it has been a privilege walking this journey with them.

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Stories from Red Camp

The annual Red Camp for youth aged 12-18 took place at Choice Retreat House from 13-16 December last year. The theme of the camp was “Stop & Be Moved”, centred around the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. 
Camp teachings were shared by four familiar faces from the Surge team: leaders Tiffany Goh, Esther Teo, and Mervin Poh; as well as our very own youth member Faith Lee. For the three days, campers were challenged by a series of games along with learning points about showing compassion. On the third day, Senior Pastor Rhordan conducted a gruelling scenario-based game which introduced our campers and volunteers to the harsh realities of poverty in our world. That night, the annual Blessing took place as parents and church leaders gathered to pray and prophesy over the youth present. Everyone involved received encounters of the loving and faithful presence of God in one way or another throughout the camp.
Here are what some of our youth have to say about Red Camp this year!
“Red Camp was such an incredible time of fun, blessing and crazy laughs! I had the honour of being one of the camp speakers, and it was so amazing to see God’s word come alive behind the scenes over months of preparation, and then reach out to touch hearts during the camp itself. I was so moved during the Blessing, as I received multiple confirmations of the same word from various people. This entire experience has challenged me to prioritise others and see them as God does, and I’m already counting down the days till next year’s camp!” – Faith Lee, camper and speaker
“I was immensely blessed by Red Camp 2018! It was so heartening to see the campers embody the meaning of excellence, and I was encouraged to have watched everybody come together during the games and the sharing sessions. It was evident that everybody had come with willing hearts and open minds to participate and learn. I was most of all blessed by the sharings that took place over the course of camp, where the speakers touched on what it means to truly love others like Jesus, and it was an issue so pertinent to everyday life that I thought it was something every camper could genuinely relate to. It’s truly been one of the most fruitful camps I’ve attended in my time at FGA, and I pray we’ll all take the lessons learnt from camp to heart as we delve into the new year!” Hannah Sim, camper

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The LOVE highway – Elder Paul Seow

v5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:5,6 NIV.

Here we have Jesus telling his disciples, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” So why is there so much confusion about the way?  Obviously there is a lot going on. This is what we will be looking into, in this exhortation.

How can we know the way?

John 14 says – “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” – John 14:3 NIV. Jesus came down from heaven to earth.  He was with his disciples for 3 years. Jesus tried to alert his disciples many times that he would return to heaven.  Now he assured them that he would come back and take you(them)to be with me (him) but they must have missed the point. I like Thomas’ candid approach. He was not at all apologetic that he did not get it.  He asked questions.  Thomas asked Jesus, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”– John 14:5 NIV. You see in Chapter 13 Jesus had already told them, “Where I am going, you cannot come.” – John 13:33 NIV. It was then that Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” – John 13:36 NIV.  Peter asked “Lord, where are you going?” and Thomas voiced that same concern, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”– John 14:5 NIV.  

You know the way to the place I am going:

Let us connect their two thoughts. Now, these five chapters (Chapters 13 to 17) represented the last teachings of Jesus before he was crucified.  So they must be important.  The disciples had been following Jesus for some three years. And they were willing to follow Jesus for the rest of their lives.  You know the story of Lazarus who was sick and dying.  Jesus wanted to return to Judea to heal Lazarus. But his disciples objected, they said, “. . . a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?” – John 11:8 NIV.  But Thomas said to them,“Let us also go, that we may die with him.” – John 11:16 NIV. Bravo Thomas!  And here Peter said,“I will lay down my life for you.” – John 14:37 NIVYes, a kudo for Peter!So, why would Jesus want to leave such faithful followers? 

Let us see if we could figure them out – – “Lord, where are you going?” – John 13:36 NIVand “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”– John 14:5 NIV.  Just one verse earlier Jesus said to Thomas, “4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”  And here one verse on (verse 5) Thomas said “so how can we know the way?”  You would notice the relationship of Chapter 13 and Chapter 14. In Chapter 13 Jesus and his disciples were in the upper room celebrating their Passover meal – the last supper. Judas was about to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that Peter would deny him three times before the cock crowed. The disciples wanted to know who it was among them that would be the greatest in the kingdom of God. As Jesus had pointed out, the disciples were all over the place – they were about to betray him,deny him, arguing about who is greatest!These were guys who had been with Jesus (followedhim) for three years. These had to be troubling signs and the disciples were troubled! 

How can we know the way?

Jesus showed the disciples what to be great meant when he washed his disciples’ feet. Jesus explained, The greatest among you will be your servant.– Matt 23:11 NIV.  No wonder chapter 14 started with Jesus telling them, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms . . .”– John 14:1,2 NIV.  

My take, Jesus was telling them not to worry – let not your heart be troubled. Why?  Because they were on the wrong track!  What then was the right track –  “You believe in God; believe also in me.”  This was key, because to follow meant tobelieve in God and tobelieve also in me (Jesus) Unfortunately, this happened to be our failure too.  If we believe in God we would trust him and Jesus would know the way.  All we needed to do was to follow Jesus.  Jesus is the way.  How more clearly could Jesus have put it than to say, “I am the way. . .” Only Jesus knew the way to his Father’s house!  So just follow Jesus.  Didn’t we all understand that? Of course, but now Jesus was telling them that he was leaving them, that worried them.  There was really no reason to worry because Jesus also promised,“I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”– John 14:2 NIV. Next question, “ What were they supposed to do when Jesus was away?”

By this everyone will know:

If the disciples had followed Jesus closely enough, they would remember that Jesus had not just told them but had shown them the way. In fact it was in the form of a commandment: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  –   John 14:34-35 NIV. So Jesus did not just tell them, Jesus commanded them.  The way that Jesus had pointed them to – it was the way of LOVE. He framed it as a commandment because there was no other way.  Take note that Jesus pointed to himself as the way – “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.Jesus’wayis the wayof love.  Love had to be the way – the way Jesus had loved them –  “as I have loved you.”  That was the only way, the way to his Father (to God’s house).  

The LOVE highway:

If you read the Gospels carefully, you would notice that it was the Gospel of John that most emphasized Jesus to be God.  It was the apostle John who clearly stated the fact that, “God is love.”  And, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” – 1 John 4:8NIV. It’s that simple!

When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, the scene was dramatic.  Mt. Sinai was covered with smoke in fire . . . the whole mountain trembled violently – Exodus 19:18,19 NIV. And there was the sound of trumpet.  But when Jesus gave them the new commandmentthere was no smoke or tremblingof the mountain or the sound of trumpet. All these things happened with Moses because the Lord descended on the mountain.  

When Jesus gave them the new commandment God was already with them – no need for the smoke and fire or sound of trumpet. The important point to note was this.  The new commandment to love clearly was not to replace the Ten Commandments.  The Ten Commandments were a part of the Law of Mosesbut when Ezra opened the book . . . 8 They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read. – Neh. 8:8,9 NIV. So, the upshot, theLaw of Moses was the Law of the Lord – one and the same thing.  This meant that the new commandment to LOVEwas the sum total of all the Ten Commandments put together. The new commandment did not replace or supersede it.  You see, if the Ten Commandments had been replaced, there would be nothing to prevent us from stealing, cheating, dishonoring our parents or perhaps, to commit adultery! 

The truth and the life:

A command as you know is mandatory not optional. So how much do you value the commandment to LOVE?  This is how King David sees God’s commands,“127Because I love your commandsmore than gold, more than pure gold,128and because I consider all your precepts right,. . . 142Your righteousness is everlasting

and your law is true.– Psalm 119:142 NIV. Do you love the new commandment to love more than gold?  I tell you, it is worth more than pure gold because, God’s laws are righteousand everlasting.  Take it from King David.  It is true. The Word of God is law – righteouseverlastingand is true. And Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1), the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE!  

I like the way the apostle John himself has put together what we have talked about.  Here it is. Read it carefully and see if you will agree with me –

4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God is truly made perfect. We know that we are in Him by this— 6 whoever claims to abide in Him must walk just as He walked.1 John 2:4-6 Tree of Life Version (TLV) – that is, to way in LOVE!

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Introducing our New Logo

In our midst, there is a cross
And it’s message – that God is with us.

In our hands, He placed the Gospel,
that we take as directed, wherever we are sent.

In our hearts, the clarion call to Go
resounds and echoes through every Generation

FGA.

On 30 September, Senior Pastor Rhordan Wicks officially launched our new logo and with it, the mandate that our church will carry into the generations to come.

With our apostolic vision to make disciples who make disciples firmly in mind, this logo reflects three main ideas.

GOD
We are a church who will always have God, and more significantly the cross, in the centre of everything we do. While it is easy to dilute the message of the cross in the name of social agendas or other popular ideology, FGA commits to being a church that will always put God and his message of love and forgiveness at the centre of all our activities. It is the church of Jesus Christ because God is at the heart of everything.

GO
We are called to be sent. While our gatherings will always endeavour to be a place that hosts the presence of the living God, the local church called FGA in this nation is going to send people all over the world. You are sent into the streets of Singapore, into every place of gathering, into every nation. The logo features a stylised arrow within the letter G to always remind us of this calling.

GENERATIONS
God is a god of the generations and we want to always remember to honour the generations that have gone before, while preparing the ground for the generations to come. We have a responsibility to make sure that the mandate God gave our church is carried into the next generation of leaders.

The logo is a blue colour, always a hue representing that we are led by the spirit of God. God’s spirit rests on us, empowers us and invigorates us. We cannot do anything apart from the spirit of God.

“What’s true of the logo, is true of us as a community, is true of you as an individual. Is the cross at the heart of everything you do? Do you recognise that you are sent? Do you know that you are empowered by the Holy Spirit, and anointed to proclaim the gospel to all people groups?” – Senior Pastor Rhordan Wicks.

Get the weekend service you want! (2)

Get the weekend service you want!

Let’s face it. We all have a different idea of what a perfect weekend service looks like. For some, it might be the songs we sing. We may like what is familiar, that we know all the words to. For others, it may be a warm and familiar atmosphere, so they will be comfortable bringing their friends and family to visit. For yet others, perhaps it’s the speaker and the message that is delivered.

“I wish I could have the ideal weekend service that I really enjoy.”

Well, I am happy to tell you that, actually, you can. Our gatherings on the weekend were always meant to be a participatory event, not a spectator one. So we all have a role to play in creating the weekend that we want to experience and enjoy.

Here are three thoughts that may help change the way we think about our weekend service.

1. Pray for the team and the speaker

Acts 4:31: After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

Pray with expectation for what happens on the weekend. While the teams that are serving spend the week preparing for the weekend, they could really use your upholding them in prayer as well. When we pray together as a family, God can move, His spirit will bring His power into the house, and then.. anything can happen. Spend a few minutes sometime during the week praying for our teams and for our pastor/ speaker. They would be greatly encouraged to know that we are all lifting them up to the Lord.

2. Bring the worship

You may have heard our Pastor say, ”The team is going to lead you in worship, but don’t let them do the worshipping for you.” Now, that is great advice. Of all the activities that we do during service now, worship is the only thing that we will continue doing in heaven. Therefore, it really behooves us to bring our best, freewill sacrifice of praise to the Lord every week. So feel free to lift your voice, raise your hands, sing and dance before the Lord. He has given us a a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3) and it would be great if we put it on every time we gather!

3. Make new friends

When I visited FGA for the first time, I remember being quite blown away by how friendly and welcoming everyone was. And even today, our welcome and usher teams do a great job of welcoming people, remembering new faces and warmly shaking hands with everyone who walks through those doors. Think of the impact we would have as a church on newcomers and visitors if we all exhibited this kind of care and hospitality. So this weekend, make it a point to speak to someone you had never spoken to before. It can even be someone you have seen around church before, but never had a chance to say hi to. For all you know, they had been hoping to speak to you too!

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Understanding The “Go”

When I was younger, the word “disciple” always dredged up images of dusty, bearded middle-aged men in robes, trudging along behind Jesus, as he moved from town to town preaching and healing people. The image is, of course, courtesy of the film Jesus of Nazareth, which I watched when I was about eight years old, possibly my first visual impression of what Jesus and his disciples looked like.

Jesus, ‘dat you? Image source: Pinterest

Of course now, some 35 years on, I am aware that the film, while eye-opening in many ways, did also put blinders on how I had viewed discipleship. It is also the shallow understanding of the Great Commission that many of us have, to “go into all the world and make disciples of all nations”. It seems like a daunting call, that requires a great sacrifice of family, career, income and often, life.

My key misunderstanding was with the word “go”. To me, it meant foreign lands, different tribes and tongues, time away from work, separation from family, poverty, hardship and even illness.

But the “go” in Matthew 28:18 does not mean any of those things. The word was written in the present continuous tense, and is meant to be read “as you go.”  That changed what discipleship meant to me. It meant that in the everyday things I do, working, taking care of my family, serving my church, I am called to be a disciple and to make disciples.

The call to discipleship that I received feels more like a mandate. I knew that above everything else that I could possibly do to serve the Lord, the one thing I had to always be doing is making disciples. The message of the Great Commission resonates with me personally, and I know that it is actually God doing the work, and I was in the privileged position of being allowed to help. It is like story Ps Rhordan shared in his book Marked to Magnify, about Ken Malmin allowing his small son to paint the fence with him (pg27). God is always looking for people to “help” him paint the fence, not because we are so good at it, but because He enjoys the relationship.

So, I am glad that I have been allowed to try and fail. I am only too aware that I don’t have all the answers and have made mistakes in discipling. In fact, I would be the first to confess that not everyone I had been in discipleship with still walks with the same fervour that they did when we first began. But I am grateful that I still have the opportunity to keep the friendship, to continue to speak life to them, and to pray for them with understanding. And through these things, God does His work. He hears, he heals, he restores, and in that, they know that there is a loving God who will always wait with open arms for his sons and daughters to come back to him.

 

If you don’t have a copy of Marked to Magnify yet, approach your LifeGroup or Ministry leader on how to get a copy. Alternatively, drop us a message here or email info@fgasingapore.org to enquire.

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Short-Term Missions Report: Surabaya, 19-23 Oct, 2017

In October, a team of four from FGA Singapore went to Surabaya to visit our church plant. In the five days that we were there, we had the opportuity to teach some of our “Being Rooted” syllabus, train some new leaders who can assist Ps Dodi with his ministry to university students and pray for and minister to the congregation.

The previous trip to Surabaya, we had contact with about 14 young people but this time, we met with and spoke to about 25-30 students each day.
After meeting include a delicious dinner home-cooked by Ps Dodi’s wife, Leni. The students also appreciated having a healthy homecooked meal, and we had a good time of fellowship before each session.

Douglas Choo had the opportunity to train 10 potential leaders on how to study the word and the cost of discipleship”. He shared Luke 9:57-62 ad talked about counting the cost and what total devotion and commitment to Christ looked like. At the end of the session, we had a pledge of commitment to serve Christ.

He also preached on Sunday. The total attendance was 35 people. After the service we had lunch together. In the afternoon we broke the group into males and females. Nalinee and Pat ministered to the ladies and SK Charles and Douglas ministered to the males.

Next year, we hope to be able to bring some of our other programmes like Know Your Shape, the GABS process and how to run life groups. If you want to be a part of the next trip in January, contact Douglas Choo at the church office.

15 Playfair Road, FGA@Playfair, Singapore 367987
6339 1317     6334 6694

info@fgasingapore.org

MRT - Tai Seng (circle line), exit at Harper Road

Buses - Tai Seng MRT: 22, 24, 28, 43, 58, 62, 70, 70M, 76, 80, 93, 158

             - Citimac Industrial Complex: 62, 90, 151